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Photo by JohannaDoePhoto on Flickr.com

As a new year begins, I’d like to start it off by offering some perspective. Weight can be an important part of your health, but “skinny” is not what you should be striving for. You see, lots of really unhealthy people and folks in really undesirable positions qualify in the “skinny category”. When my father was dying of cancer, for example … he was skinny. And, it was one of the most difficult parts of watching him die. He wasn’t thin in a good way. He was God-awful skinny, and that was one of the definitive reasons we knew he was on his way out. Folks stranded at sea become skinny. Anorexics who starve themselves until their spinal columns stick out are skinny. In fact, one of the most iconic and painful symbols of the Holocaust are photos of skinny people who were being starved to death. I’m sure we can agree that none of these scenarios make “skinny” look ideal.

Let’s discuss what skinny means and doesn’t mean. It’s doesn’t mean that you’ve got nice curves, a nice shape or that you’ve put any important effort in to your fitness training. Skinny does not stand for “beautiful”. As mentioned above, skinny mostly means that you’ve not had much food or that you can’t maintain a healthy weight. Ouch! Does this sound desirable to you? Not me.

I’ve got two kids, and we do not idolize skinny in this household. My husband and I have also forbidden them to use the word “fat” when referring to people. Elephants and pumpkins, sure. Humans? Not so much. Instead, we talk a lot about being healthy. We want our children to earn and maintain strong, resilient, flexible bodies that have great endurance. They’ll do this by learning and practicing habits that will help them stay that way for well over 100 years. We talk about the risks involved with being overweight, like diabetes, heart disease and sore joints. We also discuss the side-effects of skipping exercise. Skinny people are sickly. Trim or lean folks like Mommy (that’s me) just happen to be smaller than others. It’s no better, and no worse.  We believe that if they do the right thing most of the time, weight will never be an issue for them. And if they end up in any way larger than some of their friends, they’ll hopefully not diminish themselves because of it. We definitely never pick on overweight people or delight in skinny people. That would be a recipe for disaster, I assure you. We never pick on our own bodies either. NEVER.

There are very few reasons in your life other than these, which will require you to be skinny.  In fact, right now … I can’t think of any that are legit. Do you have a cover modeling shoot for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition scheduled for the near future? I’m guessing not. Although, even if you did … S.I. seems to be choosing more voluptuous girls like Kate Upton anyway.

The moral of my story is that your weight is your choice. Outside of adjusting your height and crushing your bones, YOU get to be your own Michelangelo. Choose to design a body that works well and feels great. You’re under no obligation to feel like crap unless your ribs show or you have the famed “thigh gap”. Do things each day to move you towards your physical goals, without doing anything detrimental. Talk NICE to yourself.

Folks, I used to be a bulimic who wore a size 13. That was no fun. Guess what, making myself sick each day never lost me a pound. It just made me feel like crap. Telling myself I needed to be “skinny”, didn’t do much for my health either. In fact, it was my overweight dorm friend who unknowingly made me change my mind. One day I asked myself, “would I like Missy more if she lost weight?” Not possible, because I couldn’t like her any more than I already did. And then I asked myself, “would I like Missy any less if she gained weight?” NO WAY! That’s when I realized that my friends weren’t choosing me based on the girth of my waist, hips or thighs. They chose me because I was kind, silly and helpful. I never threw up voluntarily again.

Today, I might wear a size small, but I am NOT skinny. I am strong and flexible with great endurance and fantastic balance. My insides are likely clean as a whistle and I’m probably going to live long enough to harass you all in to your 90’s. That’s what matters to me. If you choose to have a lean trim body, that’s fine. Just make sure it is filled with power and energy. Skinny requires suffering. Fit and trim require sweaty work and wise eating choices.

  • If you need to lose weight to get healthy, you probably already know it. Just start eating wisely, and follow this EXACT FORMULA FOR WEIGHT LOSS.  Getting to and maintaining an ideal weight is about learning how to feed your body the right amounts of the right things, for the size you want to be. Diets, pills, wraps and other gimmicky things are unhealthy and unacceptable. If you’ve got money to throw away, instead of buying all of that crap … just send it to me.
  • If you haven’t been exercising, get started and never stop. This is something you’ll need to do until you die. Exercise is not a fad. It’s exactly what you need to do to keep your body strong, energetic, flexible, resilient, sturdy and vibrant. You don’t have to run or do Crossfit, although those workouts are great. Just do SOMETHING! Get started, and then continuously pursue exercise that challenges you. The end.
  • Coach yourself up, just like I did. You can find reasons to accept yourself as-is, while still striving to be healthier.
  • If you’re being put down by someone else who’s constantly riding you about not being “skinny enough”, tell them to stop and/or remove them from your life. Send them this article while you’re at it.
  • If you are dealing with an eating disorder, speak to both a M.D. and a mental health counselor. Eating disorders are no joke and can wreak havoc on every aspect of your life.

Remember folks, skinny is not a compliment. Strive for the good stuff instead.

What do you think about the subject?